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The Art of Space

If you love downtown Fargo, it’s likely you appreciate diversity, beauty, culture, art, and unique experiences. You perhaps enjoy unexpected run ins with friends, knowing you are supporting your neighbors when you shop, being surrounded by history and culture, and having the option to walk between buildings instead of drive.

The ongoing revitalization of downtown Fargo takes a village. It takes people choosing to live and work in the neighborhood. It takes entrepreneurs and dreamers to take the leap and start businesses and create experiences. It takes a commitment from the city to maintain the infrastructure. And it takes private investors assuming the risk and injecting capital into downtown.

It also requires a strong community of artists and culture creators; those who amplify all that is unique about Fargo and its people.

Artists are people who know place, love place, and will use their creativity to tap into its potential and opportunities. – Laura Zabel, Springboard for the Arts

This past summer, Kilbourne Group and The Arts Partnership began a conversation about shining a light on the arts as a community development asset. How can we, in a concrete way, demonstrate to the Fargo region the vital role the arts play in making this a great place to live?

Kilbourne Group is about creating great spaces and unique experiences in downtown Fargo, developed in smart, sustainable ways that benefit the whole city. That often means developing the highest utilization of a space to get more value out of it, combining resources to make projects happen, and finding beauty in the in-between spaces.

What if there was a space where artists could test the same concepts? The Arts Partnership and Kilbourne Group held a meeting of the arts community outside the Broadway Theatre Garage in late June to talk about the unique characteristics of space artists desire in which to create, perform, and sell their work. The idea of a shared creative space for the Fargo Moorhead community developed.

At Kilbourne Group, we’ve experienced the power of temporary activations of our space. A nondescript alley becomes a unique community event venue. A vacant gas station becomes Sudden Park. A former service garage becomes a theatre, a tasting room, an art gallery and more. What could artists do with 11,000 square feet of subdivided, move-in ready office space?

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The building at 225 Fourth Avenue North is scheduled for redevelopment in December of 2018, so leases are short-term, two-years at max. Its characteristics align with what artists are looking for in a shared space. With an incredible amount of work and planning on behalf of The Arts Partnership to connect the arts community with the concept and vision, and space and seed capital from Kilbourne Group, APT is born.

APT is a creative incubator. This includes studio spaces, gallery walls and rental areas for arts workshops, classes, rehearsals, performances and more. APT centralizes support and maximizes resources through creative sharing. The mission of APT is to provide a creative, collaborative and safe place for artists to make art and for the community to collide with it.

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By partnering to create a first home for APT, The Arts Partnership and Kilbourne Group invite other community partners to join in this exciting endeavor and find create ways to work with and support APT. While 225 Fourth Avenue North is a two-year, temporary demonstration space for the arts, our goal is to be so successful at engaging the larger community that when it comes time to find a permanent home, APT knows exactly where it’s going and how to get there.

Dayna Del Val, executive director of The Arts Partnership, is designing and leading APT to be a suitable space for creatives to thrive. In a nurturing, shared, safe and creative environment, individual artists of all types will grow their own artistry, receive more recognition of their art and join a communal artistic practice of excellence that also serves the larger community through programming, access to the arts and by providing a gathering location in a highly creative space.

The Arts Partnership and Kilbourne Group seek to demonstrate that a healthy arts presence is a vital part of our community’s infrastructure, paving the way for a sustainable, long-term shared arts space. We welcome you to be part of our dedicated team of diverse art supporters working to support start-up artists in their risk taking and collaboration.

Downtown Fargo is a thriving arts scene, and for that we are grateful. #SupportLocalArt

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